Browsing Category Features

Ben Chasny on Keiji Haino, Mikami Kan and Yoshizawa Motoharu

Chasney-Gems

Chalkin’ up another great installment of Hidden Gems, RSTB’s series in which one of my favorite artists picks out an album that hasn’t gotten proper due in the scheme of things and shines a bit of light on it. I’ve found that the picks can often illuminate not only a deserving overlooked album, but also give insight as to where the chooser’s own sound developed from, and this entry from Ben Chasny is a prime example. Ben’s picked a PSF classic, the very seldom sung Live In The First Year Of The Heisei (Volume’s I and II), by collaborative trio Keiji Haino, Mikami Kan and Yoshizawa Motoharu. Technically its two albums, but who’s to get picky around here. Ben gives his take on what makes this such a slept on piece of culture and how it’s played an important role in his own music.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Ripley Johnson on Fabulous Diamonds – Commercial Music

HiddenGemsRipley-Gold

Starting off the new year right with a new edition of Hidden Gems from Ripley Johnson (Moon Duo, Wooden Shjips). Hidden Gems explores albums that haven’t gotten their proper due over the years, as picked by RSTB’s favorite artists. Ripley selected Aussie psych duo Fabulous Diamonds’ third album Commercial Music, which was released by Chapter Music in 2012. Ripley explains why the album is such a slept on treasure and the impact its had on his own music.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

RSTB Best Reissues of 2016

bestreissues-header

If you’re familiar with Raven Sings the Blues, then you know that reissues and digging through the past play an important role in coverage on the site. Aside from the stellar new releases out this year, several companies stepped up to deliver reissues of essential material that could very well have been lost to time. This is a weird time in the life of a reissue label, a time where major labels are cranking out as much vinyl fodder as possible, with less than a fraction of it being records that couldn’t just be picked up in a $5 bin in decent condition. These are some of the reissues that I thought were deserving of accolades this year.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

RSTB Best of 2016

Best16-header2

This year is mercifully drawing to a close, much to the collective relief of pretty much everyone you know. In a year that tested the limits of the world’s collective conciousness, at least there was music to soften the blow. It was truly hard to whittle down the “best” of 2016, keeping in mind that best over here is entirely qualitative. I’ll accept the requisite fines and fees for not including Beyoncé and Bowie in RSTB’s top 5 for the year, but if you need a site like this to tell you that tentpoles like those are good, then we’re in more trouble than I thought. Instead, the following list sums up the best garage, psych, experimental, folk that hit the shelves this year. The records that spent the most time on the Raven turntable presented in alphabetical order below. Fuzz on and keep safe.

Continue Reading
1 Comment

Tony Molina on Judee Sill – S/T

Tony-M-HiddenGems

Racking up some great installments of the Hidden Gems series as we come into the end of the year. This time Tony Molina picks out a record that he feels has been overlooked and reveals how its impacted him personally. Tony’s pick, Judee Sill’s nuanced, 1971 eponymous debut. The record has been a longtime collector’s favorite and only recently come back into the popular canon through some much needed reissues. Those who’ve heard Molina’s latest EP for Slumberland would note the shift in tone from his earlier songwriting and it seems that Sill’s masterpiece would have quite a bit of impact on his migration to a softer sound. Tony explains how the record came into his sphere of influences and just how much it’s made an impression on how he approaches songwriting.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Al Montfort on Martin McBain’s – Winter… on the Harbour

Al-Martin-HiddenGems

For this installment of Hidden Gems, RSTB’s ongoing series in which artists pick an overlooked classic that’s impacted their life, I’ve asked Al Montfort to pick out a record he thought had gotten lost to time. For those unfamiliar, Montfort is integral to several Australian bands that should be populating your turntable, including Dick Diver, UV Race, Total Control, Terry and Lower Plenty. The latter two both have great albums out this year that have spent their fair share of time on the speakers here. Al picked a small press gem from Tasmanian singer-songwriter Martin McBain. Surely an unknown name to any from the States, McBain was also pretty far off the radar to most Australians as well, having only released this LP on the small imprint Candle in 1983 and two follow-up singles in ’84 and ’86 before slipping from view. I asked Al how this record made its way into his life and what lingering effects its had on his own songwriting.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

James Hoare on East Village – Drop Out

HiddenGems-JamesH

For the latest installment of Hidden Gems I asked James Hoare (of Ultimate Painting, Veronica Falls, Permanent Ornaments) to pick a lost piece of his personal music landscape. As always, Hidden Gems is based on the idea of those records that are found along the way in life that you can’t believe you never heard about, the ones that just blow you away on first listen and seem like such a find. They’re the kind of records that get left out of all the essential decade lists and 1001 records you need to hear before you die type of listicle… the ones that truly got away. For this installment in the series James picked overlooked UK jangle gem Drop Out from East Village. I asked James how this lovely record came into his life and what the record means to him.

Continue Reading
1 Comment

Design Inspiration: Jason Galea

DI-JasonGalea

This is the second installment of RSTB’s look at the influences that drive the designers behind some of my favorite album covers. Stepping up to the spotlight, Jason Galea opens up about some favorite album covers that have influenced his style. Jason is the designer behind pretty much anything visual that’s connected to Aussie psych warriors King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, plus The Murlocs and the Tame Impala side-project Gum. Galea has also done all of the band’s insane video work and kicked in on a few great Aussie garage comps including the Nuggets comp compiled by Lenny Kaye. The first thing that drew me into King Gizz back when 12 Bar Bruise came out was the artwork, and the triple gatefold on Oddments ranks among my own favorite covers. Its truly using the LP format to its full potential. Below are Jason’s picks that span some recent garage gems and and plenty of psych oddities.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Wolf People on T.S. McPhee, Iron Claw, Charlies and Rev. Charlie Jackson

HiddenGems-WolfPeople

The latest edition of Hidden Gems is an epic one, each member of UK psych faves Wolf People picked a record they thought hadn’t gotten the attention it’s deserved over the years. As always, the idea of Hidden Gems is to highlight those albums and bits of music, that while not necessarily obscure, haven’t gotten their full due in the course of music history and the band digs deep to find some examples of music that’s been left off the ledger. Each member of the band picks a record that’s hit home for them in a meaningful way.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Design Inspiration: Robert Beatty

DesignInspiration-beatty

Another new feature at RSTB begins today, this one taking a look at designers that have proven above and beyond the average sleeve jockey. Sleeve art has always proven to be more than just decorative dressing for an album, oftentimes it can be as integral and inseparable from an album as any song gracing the sides. And while they say you can’t judge a book (or album) by its cover, we often do just that, so designers can act as the gatekeepers of taste. Of recent designers, I can think of few that have been proving more of an inspiration to psychedelic savants than Robert Beatty. His style evokes classic silkscreen techniques and custom painted vans from the ’70s. He’s got an eye for the surreal and a feel for color that’s made him a favorite of everyone from Real Estate and Thee Oh Sees to Oneohtrix Point Never, culminating in his most famous run last year on Tame Impala’s Currents and its surrounding singles. In this new series, I’ve asked designers to go pick the works that inspire them, choosing five of their favorite album covers and explaining how they’ve influenced their style. Robert’s picks are below, spanning from Tropicalia to a collab between Stereolab and The High Llamas, each one peeling back a layer of Beatty’s iconic style.

Continue Reading
0 Comments